Don't Call It Night

Amos Oz, Author, N. R. M. de Lange, Translator Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) $22 (199p) ISBN 978-0-15-100152-1
Few writers have explored the souls of Israelis with the clear, unsentimental vision that Oz brings to both his novels and his nonfiction. His characters, while influenced by political events in a land under constant siege, also exhibit the universal emotions of love, longing, fear and ambition, as well as the tension of ethical dilemmas. This novel, his 10th (after Fima), is set in Tel Kedar, a quiet desert town in the Negev that is both a microcosm of Israeli society and a vividly evoked setting whose atmosphere and residents are palpable. The protagonists, whose voices alternate in narration, are lovers, but their relationship is starting to fray. Theo, a stolid, graying, insomniac civil engineer in his 60s, feels his life has entered a stage in which he will experience ""the gradual decline from pain into sadness.'' He and Noa, a frenetic, idealistic schoolteacher 15 years his junior, seem to live at cross purposes. They share an apartment, but they exist in a shadowy state of contained emotions and mild bickering. After one of Noa's students accidentally falls to his death from a cliff while on drugs (or did he jump?), ensuing events threaten Theo and Noa's relationship. The boy's shady father, a military adviser in Nigeria (or is he an arms dealer?), offers to finance a drug rehabilitation clinic in his son's memory. Noa leads the task force for the project, which Theo, like most of the community, opposes. The subtle tug-of-war between them shakes rational Theo out of his passivity and into a cautious idealism (""when you're not burning to do anything... you start dying'') and moves impulsive Noa to a more thoughtful position. Perhaps Oz's intends this as an object lesson for his country. The narrative sometimes has a static quality despite Oz's lyrical prose, but in the end, his story carries thought-provoking implications. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/02/1996
Release date: 09/01/1996
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.